April 27, 2006
CUPID Panel: The Adverse Effects of Imbalanced Media Coverage on African Development
Tonight (Thursday 4/27) from 6 to 8 PM in 1118 IAB, CUPID will hold a panel discussion on the adverse effect of imbalanced media coverage on African development. Anyone who has been paying attention to development issues in Africa knows that this is a fairly nontrivial problem. CUPID addresses the issues with a typically star-studded panel:
Africans have long bemoaned what they consider to be sensationalistic and pessimistic American news coverage of their continent, citing pervasive coverage of such “negative” topics like AIDS, famine and civil conflicts. Many argue that the incessant image of a dysfunctional Africa makes attracting investors an arduous task for some deserving African countries. If investment opportunities fail to find their way into Africa, jobs, and hence, wealth will not be created. Thus, some argue, Africa’s pessimistic and sensationalistic media image comes at a decidedly high cost.
At this event, a four-person panel will explore the validity of this development theory, addressing the following: “Does news coverage of Africa really focus on pessimistic and sensationalistic topics any more than other world regions, and why?” “If yes, do journalists have a duty to do more “positive” African stories?” “How exactly does this coverage impact economic development?” “How can African and American journalists better project Africa in a more comprehensive and holistic light?”
A panel discussion featuring:
Prof. Bill Berkeley, School of International and Pubic Affairs, Columbia University. Bill Berkeley is an Adjunct Professor of International Affairs at SIPA and the author of The Graves Are Not Yet Full — Race, Tribe and Power in the Heart of Africa (2001). He is a former reporter and editorial writer for The New York Times, and for more than a decade he reported on African affairs for The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, The Washington Post and the New York Times Magazine.
Milton Allimadi, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Black Star News. Milton Allimadi attended the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University before commencing a career that includes stints at The Journal of Commerce, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. In 1997, Allimadi founded The Black Star News, a publication that prides itself as the voice for under-represented people. Mr. Allimadi is also the author of the best-selling book The Hearts of Darkness, How White Writers Created the Racist Image of Africa.
Professor Beverly G. Hawk, Miles College (Birmingham, Alabama). Dr. Beverly Hawk is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Miles College, where she teaches international studies, public administration and government. In 1992, the Society of Professional Journalists conferred Dr. Hawk with the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award Medallion for her work Africa’s Media Image, a collection of writings by leading journalists and scholars that has shaped the field of study. In 2000, the U.S. Secretary of Education and the U.S. Secretary of State joined to honor Dr. Hawk with the Millennium International Volunteer Award for initiatives in pursuit of international understanding.
Professor Asgede Hagos, Delaware State University. Dr. Asgede Hagos is a Professor of Mass Communications at Delaware State University. He is the author of Hardened Images: The Western Media and the Marginalization of Africa. Dr. Hagos is also President of the Organization of Eritrean Americans.
The event is sponsored by The Institute of African Studies (IAS), The Africana Association (Columbia Business School) and International Media and Communications, SIPA (IMC).
Food will be involved.